We know you are here, our brothers and sisters. We will, one day, emerge from the Dome to join you in peace. For now, we watch from afar.Pressia Belze has lived outside of the Dome ever since the detonations. Struggling for survival she dreams of life inside the safety of the Dome with the 'Pure'.Partridge, himself a Pure, knows that life inside the Dome, under the strict control of the leaders' regime, isn't as perfect as others think. Bound by a history that neither can clearly remember, Pressia and Partridge are destined to forge a new world.
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A Q&A Between Justin Cronin and Julianna Baggott
Justin Cronin is the author of The Passage.
Justin Cronin: As Pure opens up we meet a girl named Pressia, who has a doll-head fused to one hand and a crescent-shaped burn around one eye. Where did this image and character come from?
Julianna Baggott: The doll-head fist first appeared in a series of strange, otherworldly short stories. At the same time, I wanted to write something really ambitious, large in scope with cinematic world-building. Not thinking of either of these things, I sat down one day and started writing a dreamy stream of consciousness from the perspective of a 16-year-old girl, hiding in an ashen cabinet in the back of a burnt-out barbershop. I then realized that this girl had a doll-head fused to her fist and that the landscape outside of this barbershop was that ambitious cinematic landscape I'd been longing to write. The two things knit together, and Pressia found her true home.
Justin Cronin: Pure presents a dystopian future after the "Detonations." What is it about post-apocalyptic fiction that attracted you as a writer and strikes a particular chord with readers today?
Julianna Baggott: Pressia is someone who finds small moments of beauty even amid all of the destruction of this post-apocalyptic world. That was one of the challenges--creating a character who's capable of seeing beauty, who's resilient and tough, and still has hope. I think that our world right now feels precarious--economically and politically--and therefore readers might be drawn to fiction that reflects the necessary toughness that so many people are relying on to survive. But, too, readers might be drawn Pure because the teen years can feel post-apocalyptic, and, on that level, Pure reflects a kind of emotional honesty that feels real.
Justin Cronin: In the world of Pure, who are the Pures and who are the Wretches?
Julianna Baggott: The novel opens with Pressia who has survived the Detonations and is therefore a Wretch. But we also get the perspective of Partridge who's survived the Detonations inside of a protective Dome; he's a Pure. He's always believed that his mother died a saint while trying to save people during the Detonations. When he finds that this might not be true, he escapes the Dome to find her. The two characters' lives are set on a collision course and become entwined in many twisted ways that make this book a thriller.
Justin Cronin: The cover of Pure includes a striking image of a blue butterfly. What does the butterfly symbolize?
Julianna Baggott: The novel will hopefully force readers to think about what it means to be truly pure--pure of heart. The blue butterfly can represent the Pures who, like Partridge, live in the protective Dome, much like the bell jar on the cover. But it can also represent a more personal purity--like that of Pressia and some of the wretches who struggle to live with their dignity and humanity intact. In the second book in the trilogy, the blue butterfly takes on a more literal meaning as well. Also, check out the back cover of the book. There you'll find a mechanical butterfly created by the artist Mike Libby, well known in steampunk circles. The mechanical butterfly exists in Pure as one of Pressia's creations.
Justin Cronin: What can you tell us about what's coming next for Pressia, Bradwell, and Partridge in the next installment, Fuse?
Julianna Baggott: I broaden the ravaged landscape. Some of the characters travel great distances. There are new creatures to contend with, as well as plot twists and turns within the Dome. (I absolutely love the new characters that we meet within the Dome--as well as the development of characters that readers only met briefly in Pure.) In addition to a new mystery to be unraveled and power struggles, there are two love stories in Fuse that really take hold, go deep, and become much more complex.About the Author:
Julianna is an award-winning poet, novelist, and young adult writer. For years, she has been thinking about writing a futuristic dystopian novel about a society of haves - the Pure, who escaped the apocalypse and live in an uncontaminated dome-covered city - and have-nots - the wretched survivors who live in the nearly-destroyed outside world.
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